Sunday, February 12, 2017

Adventures in parenting: The Mickey Bed


We are flying through milestones here.

Pulled himself up on the landing and climbed the stairs. NBD.
As I've mentioned, since birth, sleeping has never quite been Dalton's forte. Now climbing - that's an area he has always excelled at. We never bothered with a ton of baby proofing, because he's too smart (#notbiased). Eric taught him to dismount feet first as a baby, and he's been found at shocking heights and places ever since. Parents of small children likely see where this is going.

We knew our time in the crib was limited, and, as selfish parents, we wanted it to last as long as humanly possible. One saving grace for us was that Dalton is on the shorter side. Even that was just a brief obstacle for him though. He started climbing out of the crib when we went in to get him in the morning, but only while we were there. Then he started climbing in and out for funsies during the day randomly. We were still hoping we had until at least the summer in the crib. Then, on Saturday, Royce was napping and Dalton was having quiet time in his crib (once in awhile he will nap, but mainly cry/play/talk to himself). Eric and I were hanging out and then we heard a huge thump, followed by screaming. Eric ran in and Dalton met him at the door - completely fine, just scared. 

At first we were like....ok, let's start looking at beds. I should mention that this was a super late "nap" time, because we'd been busy building at Home Depot and seeing the fish at the aquarium all day. 

FOCUS



Always with the hat.
By the time this all happened, it was like 4:30 pm. I did a little googling, found that the Babies R Us near our house had Mickey beds on sale and in stock and that was that. 

I ran out to pick up the bed. Dalton met me at the door yelling "bring Mickey bed?!?". He was so excited.

Trying to drag it to his room.
Meanwhile, Eric was at Dalton's door, realizing the crib wouldn't fit through the door frame. Off to a great start.


Because I am exceptionally dumb, back when I was pregnant with Dalton and even more clueless than I am now, I put a mini crib on my baby registry. I didn't even know mini cribs existed. I would go over to friend's houses and their cribs would seem so much bigger, but I was always like oh it must be how the room is arranged or the paint color or something. DUMB. It actually worked out that we moved up our second baby plan several years (#impulsebaby) because we needed another crib anyway that was big enough for a toddler. I got a free hand me down crib from a local mom exchange group. Except it was one of those drop side ones that are now right up there with crib bumpers in terms of how much you love your baby (if you own it, you don't). Eric rigged up a system of some sort of tools and duct tape so Dalton couldn't drop the side, and all was well. 

Until now. The plan was: take apart the mini crib that Royce was currently using, move the jerry rigged your parents don't love you hand me down crib into Royce's room as his new crib, and move Dalton into the Mickey bed. Immediately, if not sooner, because it was already bedtime.

Calling in reinforcements

Dalton insisted HE had to examine the directions.
Eventually Eric managed to McGuyver the crib apart, get the pieces to Royce's room, and Royce went to sleep with the original mini crib in the center of the room surrounded by new crib pieces. Dalton's bed was complete around 9pm. He was super excited to check it out. 



Will never sleep without his fishies (sea soother).
For the first night, Eric sat in the rocking chair until Dalton fell asleep, but he pretty much laid down in bed and ignored him. Of course, it was 9pm. He woke up a couple times and cried for a minute but fell back asleep on his own very quickly.

Seeing a giant Mickey on the monitor freaks me out.
It's been a week now, and so far so good - it seemed too easy! I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, truly. After our impulsive switch, I realized our timing was dumb because Eric had 3 basketball games to coach that week, so once the weekend was over I was solo for bedtime until Friday. I won't lie, I was scared. But we just kept his bedtime routine exactly the same, and everything was fine! So even if it goes downhill now once he figures out he actually CAN leave the bed on his own, basketball season is over so I have backup.


I got a little choked up looking around his room Sunday morning. I feel like he was JUST a tiny baby, but his room was now completely void of baby supplies.



Dresser no longer a changing table.
And our little Royce is now 9 months old! Less than 3 months out from his first birthday. Hold me.

COME BACK AND LOVE ME.
And that's the story of the bed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Outside as long as in


In the blink of an eye, Royce has now been on the outside as long as he was in. 

I can't stand it.

I took this selfie less than an hour before my water broke! 

I truly can't believe how fast it's gone. He was born at exactly 39 weeks, and has now been out here, making us all smile, for exactly 39 weeks. (He will be 9 months Monday for those, like me, who don't feel like doing complicated mental math.)

Snap chatted a couple days before he arrived - my last prego pic. Can't believe he ever fit in there!


He's such a big boy. His first tooth finally popped through this week, after the most agonizingly (for me, maybe a little for him) slow movement up from his gums. 

No babies were harmed in the taking of this tooth photo.

As I've said, he's a man on the move. While I may get a couple minutes to hold him if I'm lucky, he's no longer content to just snuggle. He wants to be on the floor, crawling around, investigating his surroundings. He even climbed the entire staircase from the basement to the kitchen the other day!

Watch out world.

As I'm guessing is typical with second children, he always fools me because he seems like such a little baby. With Dalton, he is always going to seem so big, because every age he hits is a new horizon for me. And Royce has always seemed so tiny, because my basis of comparison is a two year old. I find myself shocked when I realize he's old enough to participate in reading books, or use a toy, or demonstrates that he understands what I'm saying - in my mind, he's just a brand new teeny baby! 

He will be this size forever in my mind.

And maybe he is, but he's no longer just a sleeping, eating, pooping lump - he's a real person, participating in the world he lives in.

Clapping at Wegmans, as we all do.
Example: sippy cups. We got rid of the bottles kind of early with Dalton, and just sent his milk to daycare in sippy cups once he was ready. It made the transition to cow's milk at a year pretty easy, so I hoped to do the same with Royce. We gave him one with a little water with dinner for like two months before he realized it served a purpose and was able to get the water out. I suddenly realized that if I was going to follow the same plan, I needed to switch him over entirely like, now. He still seemed so young though and I thought I must have gotten my dates wrong, and Dalton was older when we ditched the bottles. But nope, I know I packed up all the bottles when my niece was born, and Dalton was only 9.5 months then. So now - Royce is also done with bottles, and he just drinks from a cup at daycare. (Of course, I have yet to pack them all up, I was more on top of things with two kids). I'll never miss washing bottles, but it still makes me a little sad - one more mark of babyhood packed away. 

Cool story bro, right?
In other news, he's smart and crafty. As I posted on instagram, he had himself a little snack party in his crib the other night. When I woke him up to nurse before daycare today, I couldn't figure out why he smelled SO strongly of coconut oil. I brought him over to get him dressed, and found the little dish of coconut oil that we keep on the changing table upside down in his crib - almost empty. 

It was full before!
Then I figured out exactly where the smell was coming from - it was on his breath! He must have stood up in his crib in the middle of the night, got the oil, eaten it (since I couldn't find any anywhere), and gone back to sleep without ever waking us up. Tell me that's not crazy. 

Not that I should be surprised. Here's what I found after getting Royce out of his high chair (which takes - 20 seconds?) while I thought Dalton was absorbed in an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

On the counter. Note the knife right in front of him.
Speaking of Dalton, he's just chugging along with the growing as well. He will be 2 and a half next month, even though he just turned two 5 minutes ago. I want to just write down every single thing he says because he's hilarious (to his parents). When we ask him to do something, he says "sure". If he bumps into Royce, he says "sorry Royce" and gives him a hug. The other day Royce was crawling in the kitchen and he started yelling "mommy!!! Royce, oven!! Hot!!". He had to save his brother! He almost never naps anymore at home (at daycare he does, go figure), his response to us trying to do anything for him (example: dress him) is "I do it!", he's obsessed with cleaning (in fact, after he puked that night he threw up some pedialyte and just said "oh! messy!" and grabbed a baby wipe and tried to clean it up) and I don't remember the last meal I cooked that he didn't help out with.


Helping my mom with the Vegetti!


In other random news, Dalton and I got stomach flu, and he massively shamed me with his attitude. Here's the scene: it's Tuesday night around 11. I had one of those horrible moments when you wake up and sprint directly to the toilet to puke. As I'm helplessly vomiting, I hear Dalton crying downstairs, and I just knew. By the time I finally recovered enough to move, Royce was crying too. I nursed him back to sleep while Eric was attempting to clean puke from all over Dalton's room. After both having been woken up by the immediate need to vomit, Dalton and I reacted very differently.

Him: Running around the house, laughing, asking to watch Mickey, chugging Pedialyte, generally finding it wonderful and thrilling that Eric and I were both up to hang out with him (in his mind) during the night
Me: weeping in the fetal position on the couch

My kid knows how to boot and rally. He's not one to let minor inconveniences like stomach flu get him down. Me? I basically left this planet for 24 hours. It was a tough time, but the silver lining was that by the time it was all over, I was totes skinny.

It's hard to get non blurry pictures of him these days!

A few stats on my boys:

Dalton:

Weight: 28 pounds, based on my friend's scale
Clothes: 2T, although they fall off his lack of a butt
Sleep: Fights it to the death. No nap, would stay awake for 3 days straight if left to his own devices, we force him in his crib between 7-8pm, and wake him for daycare around 6:45. He does not appreciate this. He's been waking up crying at night a lot lately and ending up sleeping on the floor with Eric. No clue why.



Eats: All the things. Possibly being enrolled in Yogurt Addicts Anonymous. Enjoys spicy food, which is unexpected for a 2 year old.
Potty training: Like sleep, I hesitate to speak of this when it's going well, but after a full two months, I'm starting to suspect I may not have to pack diapers next to the shower caddy in his dorm room.
Likes: All vehicles, current favorite is trains, Mickey, his brother, Elmo, books, painting, attempting to dress himself, brushing his teeth (no clue why but I'm riding that wave as long as I can), running wind sprints (his current favorite game).
Dislikes: typical two year old stuff - basically any time an adult enforces rules/makes him do things for his own good, including, but not limited to: going to sleep, getting in the car seat, turning off the TV, personal hygiene

Royce:

Weight: 17 pounds over Christmas break
Clothes: 9-12 months, still fits in some 6 month
Sleep: 2 naps a day in the crib or sometimes the car on the weekends, goes down for the night 6:30-7. Rarely now nurses to sleep/falls asleep in my arms. Cue tears. He generally prefers being put in the crib to go to sleep on his own. I'm very superstitious about jinxing things so right now let's just say sleep doesn't suck.

Dalton always asks for Royce in his crib with him!
Eats: All the things. Obsessed with solids, like his brother, including spicy food. We've now given him everything except honey, and he just eats whatever we are eating for dinner (example: tonight white chicken chili). I put it on his tray, making sure it's in small-ish pieces, and he feeds himself. He also figured out pouches (during stomach flu 2017 crisis in our house, he was the only one eating, so I called a pouch dinner for him). He nurses before and after daycare, before bed and usually once at night, and gets 8oz of breast milk at daycare. I'm still pumping twice a day at work, but stopping at
6-7 oz hoping to slowly phase it out and use my freezer stash to make it to a year.
Potty: Diapers, you know, not much to share, he dirties them, we change them
Likes: Crawling, pulling up, attempting to eat everything on the floor, attempting to do whatever his brother is doing, toys with buttons/lights/music, peekaboo, humpty dumpty, itsy bitsy spider - basically everything makes this guy smile
Dislikes: very little - taking things away from him (generally dangerous things), when he falls and bumps his head (although even that often doesn't even make him cry), being out of food

And that's that - here's to another glorious 9 months and beyond with these cuties!

Monday, January 30, 2017

#twoundertwo - a review


We are now in the phase of Dalton's age just being counted in years (as in, stranger in the grocery store says "How old is he?", the answer is 2, not 28 months because that's just ridiculous). However, for the purposes of this blog post, I will note that he is 2 years and 4 months, which also means that I have been off the #twoundertwo hashtag for a full four months, and it's time to reflect on it.



In my experience, being pregnant with a baby (at the time, he seemed like a toddler, but when I look back at pictures now, he was still a baby!) leads to comments.
Omg teeny little Dalton and Royce in my belly!

These are including, but not limited to:
  • Was it planned?
  • You're going to have your hands full!
  • You must be crazy.

Of course, all pregnant women get comments, but these were the variety that I heard (in addition to the nonstop oh it must be a girl! do you hope it's a girl?? but that's a whole other post). I can't say they bothered me, because I totally would have agreed with them in my very recent past. I thought people who had kids close together were insane. Didn't they want a break for their bodies? One of my friends who has a child very close in age to Dalton planned to try for a second when her son turned one. I specifically told her she was nuts and might have even shaken my head reading her message. This was while we were both still pumping at work, and I know I said something like "but your boobs need a break!". The thought of another pregnancy, delivery, year of pumping at work...it all made me sick. 

My siblings and I are all 3 years apart, my niece and nephew are three years apart, and that just always seemed like the norm for me (and Eric is ten years older than his only sibling!). We thought maybe we would start trying a little after Dalton turned two. AKA....around now. I ended up getting pregnant with my little #impulsebaby two weeks before my aforementioned "insane" friend got pregnant with her second. 

So what changed? We realized that our reasons for waiting were largely because we didn't want to pay for two in daycare at the same time (which we still don't, no one does, it's stupid). And we just wanted another baby sooner rather than later. We aren't getting any younger, and we wanted to just keep it moving with the baby stage before we got used to sleeping and stuff again. Getting pregnant with Dalton took a year, so getting pregnant right away with Royce was a bit of a surprise.

The best surprise, really.
Obviously things constantly change with kids, but so far I really love the small age gap. Dalton adjusted so well to Royce. He wasn't talking yet when he was born, so who knows if it was his age or personality or whatever behind that, but seeing them together constantly melts my heart. I know this sounds corny but they really have had a special bond since day one. Dalton is NOT interested in babies in the slightest, but he is constantly checking in on Royce, bringing him toys, trying to share food with him, wanting to play with him - it's just the sweetest. While there is a huge difference between a newborn and a 19 month old, there isn't much of a difference between, say, a 7 and an 8 year old, and I'm really hoping they remain close and always have a playmate.

Hugging his little bro. I melt.

From a parent standpoint: Of course adding a new baby to the family was a huge chaotic change. But I don't know of anyone with kids of any age that would describe it any differently. I think my mom summed it up when she was telling me about a time she was watching my niece and nephew. She said she forgot how long it took to take both kids anywhere, even somewhere simple like the grocery store, and she said "oh,but of course you know all about how long it takes". I thought about it, and realized I actually don't know. It's more like on those rare times I go somewhere by myself, I'm shocked and confused about how fast and simple it is. The flurry of coats and shoes and sippy cups and excessive packing the diaper bag and false starts when someone poops right after you put them in the car seat - that's just normal life for me now. So yes, while having two very young, needy kids in diapers, still at the age where they need constant help and supervision might seem wild and busy and even insane to an outsider looking in, it just feels normal at this point.

Believe it or not, Royce is in that boat at Dalton's request.

Would having an age gap of 3 or 4 years be easier? I have no idea. I haven't experienced having a 3 or 4 year old child, so it's not like I have a basis of comparison. I know I feel like I already forgot so much baby stuff. What milestones should he be hitting at this age? When am I supposed to give them water? Can they have IB Profin yet? When are they allowed to have blankets in the crib? Etc, etc, and I can only imagine it would be even worse the longer I had waited. 

So far, the hardest parts for me have been potty training and baby mobility. Trying to potty train Dalton with an infant around was the first time I was ever like "ok, I can see why people wait to have a second baby".

No matter how many toys are around, Royce always goes for the potty.

Royce becoming mobile has also been a real game changer. This summer, while I was still off work and home with both of them on my own, things felt extremely doable. My friends joke that for the first few months of Royce's life, all they ever saw was the top of his head because he essentially lived in the Ergo. I could throw him in there, and go about life as usual with a toddler. As long as he got milk and diaper changes, he was good and I was free to expend pretty much all my mental energy on Dalton. Now, that's not the case.



He's crawling everywhere, pulling up on everything, obsessed with eating solids, and overall just a lot more like an actual real person. Of course that's wonderful and fun and amazing, but it's also more challenging. And Dalton may be over two now, but he doesn't require any less from me (and really if anything, more). 

So, would I recommend it? Overall, it gets a two thumbs up for me.

Because adorable.

Here's a handy little guide in case anyone out there is considering this idea.

#twoundertwo may be for you if you:

  • are comfortable with your house never being clean - like, never
  • are able to embrace the idea that coffee is now your sleep
  • enjoy making diaper changes more of an assembly line event
  • hate money
  • don't feel particularly attached to your sanity
  • consider screen time quotas to be loose guidelines - very loose
  • have a mom tribe that will swoop in and save you by any means necessary when you just CAN'T anymore
  • have a partner that is 150% IN

  • optional but recommended: a minivan - sure, it looks "uncool", but if you are considering #twoundertwo and still think you are going to look or act even remotely cool or don't want to be too "mom-ish", your expectations are not in line with reality.
In summary - #twoundertwo is the best.





Sunday, January 8, 2017

That time Royce became a new baby

As always, my vacation from work flew by in a blaze of glory. Way too fun, way too fast. I've started to accept my own limitations and didn't have too many grand plans of "getting things done". My main goal was to curl up every morning in my pajamas, with a warm blankie and a hot cup of coffee, which I accomplished. Truly, one of my greatest joys in life is just waking up without an alarm clock and being able to enjoy my coffee in the morning without being in a frantic rush to get out the door. Sometimes I even had a snugly baby with me. My body is pretty conditioned to waking up before my kids since that's how I get ready for work, but to me it's not so much the time I wake up, it's just not waking up to that damn alarm to start the race against the clock trying to get to work on time. And now I've just written a whole paragraph about it, but I stand by it because that's how much I love it.

He worked hard for this 2016 New Year's Eve paper plate award.


Royce's sleep was pretty terrible over break, but it was for a great reason: HE LEARNED ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, our first day back, our daycare was like did you drop off a different baby? In just about a week, Royce learned to:


  • officially crawl with his belly off the ground
  • pull up to standing
  • clap
  • lift the flaps in Where's Spot (literally a week on this one, he got the book for Christmas and was lifting the flaps by New Years #genius)
He keeps getting stuck under chairs.
That's huge. Not to mention he's getting a tooth, he's in Wonder Weeks leap 6, and also sort of learned to wave and use a sippy cup (sort of because he's not consistent with either yet). This child's whole world has changed. It just blows my mind how much he can suddenly do. All he wants in life now is to figure out how to get to his feet and all times. 

I can't get over how big he looks.

If he's not doing that, he's working on increasing his crawling speed. 



That one time it was 65 degrees in December.
What's been exciting with Dalton is as his verbal skills continue to expands, he can tell us more and more about what's on his mind. Lately he's been talking about past events, which is really cool because I've never gotten a glimpse into his memory before. Just a few days ago I was putting away some Christmas stuff, and he saw the mug he drank his hot chocolate out of on Christmas Eve, and right away said hot chocolate. Typical stuff that's boring to everyone but the kid's parents.

I actually wasn't lazy, we went out and did something fun with the kids every day.

My dad got us annual passes to the National Aquarium for Hanukkah! Dalton was so excited and said "see fish!" the whole drive there. 

It's nearly impossible to get a good picture of a toddler and actual fish.
Other highlights included the playground, science center, and playdates with friends. 





We're pretty sure the highlight for Royce was going to Qdoba for lunch. No joke, this baby ate more than his big brother. He just kept going and would scream like a little raptor if his plate was empty.



You would probably assume that, being parents of young children, we did nothing to celebrate New Year's Eve. But you would be wrong. We celebrated the hell out of it. 

Our couple BFFs, fellow young child parents, had us over to ring in 2017.
#candid

As always, Dalton's side eye is on point. 


 I rescinded my moratorium on travel of any kind for one night (they are local but my main concern with travel was that Dalton doesn't sleep anywhere but his crib). Since they had recently moved their toddler to a big boy bed, his crib was still available. Dalton actually did great! He was exhausted from all the fun, and I think he's old enough now to understand when we explain why he's sleeping somewhere new. He passed out at 8 and we didn't hear from him until morning. 

Once the kids were asleep, we had a wild night of Heads Up, watching Times Square coverage, a few glasses of wine and in bed by 10:30. Winning. No pictures because...who wants pictures of adults? We didn't bother after the cute subject matter was gone.

I did a ton of working out, which for me at this juncture of my life means more than 20 minutes almost every day. The weather was nice so I got out for several runs. On New Year's Day I was going to just be lazy, but Dalton started yelling "mommy work out, mommy floor!". Then he kindly helped me through my pushups (which I do on my knees, I'm weak).


So helpful.
Sunday night at midnight I woke up freezing to death, with a high fever and tons of pain - mastitis again! Yay! Of course it couldn't hit while I was just screwing around doing nothing all week, it had to wait until it was almost time to go back to work. Antibiotics are tiny little miracles though and while I basically was dead to the world Monday, I was miraculously cured by the time school resumed Tuesday. Royce is now 8 months old, so can I please just get through these next 4 months without boob trauma???

I didn't have any specific health related new year's resolutions, but I was vaguely trying to join in the new year new me stereotype and just kind of stop eating crap all day long and that kind of stuff. So far, it's been a joke. While my mastitis was better, I was still dragging until it really left my system. More importantly, readjusting to work after 12 days off is HARD. It's so exhausting to work all freaking day long and a teething baby who wants us to watch him practice crawling all night (because new separation anxiety) didn't help. I still ate a lot of crap and barely exercised all week. I'm back in action now though. I'm leaving for yoga in half an hour, working on a healthy meal plan, and don't intend on being second last in this week's FitBit competition. Bring it.